Friday, January 31, 2014

I Feel a Rant Coming On...

Okay, so I want to bring out my little soap box about something that I read tonight... maybe you've seen this floating around the internet, maybe you haven't. If you have, I feel confident you have an opinion. I do too. And since I'm a bit of a big mouth (so I've been told), I feel compelled to say something.

There is an article out there written by a gal named Amy Glass. It's titled "I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands and Kids and I'm Not Sorry". You decide if you want to read it. 

I won't go point by point (though I want to)... the obvious response is to attack this writer for minimizing the job I have devoted my life to; keeping my home, raising my girls, looking after my family. But I don't want to stoop to her level.

Some people dream of being doctors, or scientists - maybe CEOs... I only ever dreamed of being a mother and a wife. And I don't think there's a difference. Both paths are difficult for different reasons. It doesn't make what I do any more or any less important.

But let's talk about this part:

"Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those two things are the same..... Having kids and getting married are considered life milestones...... These aren’t accomplishments, they are actually super easy tasks, literally anyone can do them."

I would suggest Ms. Glass talk to someone who's tried for years to conceive a child. I imagine they might feel differently about this.

Also, my thirty-plus stitches in each of my two labours might speak a different truth than "super easy task".

As someone who has both been in the work force, and run a household, I can confirm that she is correct; these two things are not equal. When one works and 'takes care of herself', she only has one person to take care of. I have three - because part of my job is also looking after my husband's needs. I imagine Ms. Glass gets to choose what time she gets up in the morning, and when her work day is finished... There it is right there; her work day has a finish. Mine does not. Also, I don't get a weekend. Or holidays. Not even the Statutory ones. So she's right - we're not equal.

Here is what makes my job as a mother about four billion times harder than the 9-5 grind I used to do; my entire life is at the whim of two tiny people who just don't care if I need a coffee break or a meal. They decide when I wake up, they decide when I finally get to sit down at the end of the day. And all the hours in between are spent teaching, policing, playing, entertaining, distracting. Teaching them how to be respectful, how to look after themselves, how to look after each other. 

But the hardest part of all? The guilt. The worry. Wondering if I'm doing it right. Hoping they will grow to love themselves, respect themselves, be good people. Will they know how much they are loved? That they're worthy? Because if they don't feel all of those things, then I have failed. And what if I fail? 

I mean, it's practically the same as the time I forgot to fax an addendum to one of our developers, and had to write an apology on the cover sheet the next morning, after a full night's sleep.

"You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids."

The only kind of exceptional I care to be, or aspire to be, is as a mother. If the only compliment I ever received was how well I raised my kids, and how loved my children feel, then I would say I am doing a fairly exceptional job at living my own dream. And my husband is part of the support system that cheers me on in my goal. Don't judge me for being happy in my life, and content with my role in it.

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15 comments:

Michelle said...

I read it. I also read her follow up article seeking to clarify her meaning (which made it worse). It reads to me as a young woman who has not yet committed herself to a relationship or had children. If she ever chooses to do either of these, she'll probably have a change of heart. Life was simpler before children (for me), but I find my life WITH children to be much more meaningful and fulfilling, whether I am working outside of the home or not.

Meredith, from everything I've seen here, you ARE an exceptional mother. Don't let Amy's uninformed (and insulting) views worry you. If she's lucky, she'll have the opportunity to regret her words in the future. ;-)

Deborah Frings said...

Nicely said Meredith!

Marie B. said...

I haven't read this article yet, but I say "AMEN SISTER!" to what you have said. Not everyone's dreams are the same; if they were, what an uninteresting world we would live in!! :)

Leah said...

Hi Meredith! I was curious and read the article Amy Glass wrote. It's really a very sad cry for where she is really at, though she can't see her own heart clearly. What she wrote is not even based in reality and again, I feel sorry for her more than anything. What a terrible place she must be in. I whole heartedly agree with your passion for being a wife, mother and home maker as that is what I am blessed to be doing and is also the fulfillment of my life long dream. My journey to motherhood was not easy, years of (and still ongoing) infertility, 2 miscarriages, one biological miracle and 2 miracles through international adoption I am amazed I get to live this dream. Don't let some sad persons ridiculous post discourage you! This is a wonderful quote from CS Lewis, “The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. ” Also very encouraging is this except from GK Chesterton on motherhood: "Woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren't. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist... when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean.

If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colourless, and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do no know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes, and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it.

How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute." Hugs to you!

Sue said...

Bravo, Meredith! I returned to work part-time when my children were in school (nights/weekends so my husband was home), then full time after they were in university and away from home. Now I am retired and the concern, wondering and worrying continue - you cannot retire from that! You always want to be there for your children - and your parents as they age!

Heather Jensen said...

You go girl! I completely agree with you on this. I don't need to waste my time reading her opinion, obviously it is ridiculous. I work nearly a full time job and have to do the mom and wife duties. Luckily for me, I work for the school system and only work when my son is at school. Before he was in school, I was a SAHM and loved every second of it! Wouldn't change a thing. :)

Lisa's Creative Niche said...

Thank you thank you thank you for writing this! I too came across this post on fb this week and was appalled... I am so glad someone else has stood up to this post and the idiocracy that went into it!

Jayne said...

The truly exceptional person is the one who thinks of others ahead of themselves. It's so much easier to only consider your own wants and needs. Well said, Meredith.

Claire Brennan said...

More power to your elbow Meredith - I believe that part of what ails society at present is this fashionable, but stupid idea that being a real, honest-to-goodness mummy is not important - being a mum/dad is THE most important job on the planet. Go you!

Pat Heney said...

As a mother of four grown wonderful children, I know how difficult it is to be a mother and wife. Ms. Glass has made the right choice. She shouldn't have children. She is much too selfish. On the other hand, I don't know you, but I imagine your life is much more fulfilling, and your children and husband are very blessed indeed!

Darnell J Knauss said...

Very articulate and well-said, Meredith! There is no job harder than being a mother. I mean even if we don't talk about any of the literal aspects wrt physical and mental labor, and just talk about responsibility, there is no other job that comes close. Mothers raise human babies into human adults for God's sake! Top that. Anyone?

And besides, can't we all just stop being judgmental of each other? I've been around a while and find the more judgmental people are, the unhappier they are. But I'm judging when I say that so I shouldn't say it.

Keep up the good work of mothering tomorrow's adults! Hugs, Darnell

Thanh Vo said...

I'm not going to read the article because I think it will raise all types of emotions that I don't want to get into, lol! I am having a happy day and want it to remain that way. I ditto what the others have said and while I don't have kids myself yet, I know that it takes a lot of hard work and patience to be a good mother! As a matter of fact, looking at the way my generation is going, I think that a lot of my peers know how difficult being a parent is and are choosing not to have children. I definitely have never questioned your own mothering skills as I know that you just are a great mom!

cm said...

Meredith, I'll join the others in saying: kudos to you for standing strong in your beliefs of the importance of being a mom; a role that you've undertaken with all your heart and spirit. As the daughter of a stay-at-home mom, I consider myself blessed that my mom chose that path. Like you, she worried about whether she did 'right' by us, and given that the three of us turned out to be pretty decent people, she can claim success as hers. I don't have children of my own - marrying late (age 52) pretty much meant I'd missed that opportunity - and spent the majority of my adult life as a high school teacher. After many, many years in that role, politics and burn out lead me to resign, and I'm still wrestling with feelings of being a failure, even though I did what I *had* to do, for the sake of my well-being. I'm fortunate that I continue to work in a school setting, spending time with students. Although my career was rewarding, it does not even shine a candle to the two other roles that are *the* most significant in my life: being a wife to my husband, and the best aunty possible to my niece and nephew. Touching lives, Meredith, with gentleness, guidance, support, encouragement and love - that's what life is about. You're doing that incredibly well as a wife and mom; I can only hope that I am, too.
c

Marcia HIll said...

I think you said it very well too Meredith. My heart breaks for Ms. Glass that she hasn't known the JOY (and sometimes heartache)that accompanies the greatest and most fulfilling job (at least for me!) on earth. I will pray that when God's timing is right, He will bless her with a child, and her ideas about what is (and what isn't) important will change and her heart will be softened. In the meantime, you go right on enjoying being the best mom that you can be and know that you aren't alone in your worries! There are SO many of us that are right there with you!! :0)

Vickie Z said...

Not going to read it...your excepts say it all. It is a job to be a stay at home mom...it's a job to be a working mom too! And, I have learned as I grow older and my children do too....you never stop being a mother....worrying-wanting to know they're ok- etc. i have even joked with my mom that she "can't get rid of us" and if she doesn't hear from each one of us at least once a week she worries....that's 5 kids to worry about...my mom is 78!!! Not 9 to 5 and not the career length of a job!! Yikes...didn't mean to go on so much!!

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